Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Ag PhD Field Day Set Up

So last week was the Ag PhD Field Day at the Hefty Seed Company HQ near Baltic, SD.  It is a big opportunity to interact with growers from all over the country who come to see all the exhibits.  Set up day is a chore, but must be done.  Look at one of the signs by an entrance.  Well it isn't exactly all "our" field day, but glad for the recognition.
Zouheir and I drove from Michigan to bring some show stuff...and we found plenty more laying on the ground ready for assembly when we got there.
 But before tackling that, I got to go to the Ag PhD Morton studio to be on the radio show with Brian and Darren Hefty.  First time in the studio for that.
 Assembling the AgroLiquid display.  Somehow it got put up and ready for guests the next day.
 Galynn and Troy visit the Hefty's planter which was behind one of the tents by ours.  It's the one shown on the Ag PhD TV show (Tuesday nights, 8 pm EDT on RFD TV).  Glad to see that it still has the Pro-Germinator and Sure-K fertilizer stickers.
 Dr. Zouheir Massri had his soil pit ready for the show, along with research posters from his experiments at the NCRS.  He is discussing soil aspects with Hefy agronomist Rob Fritz, who was very interested in the findings.
A good night's sleep and ready to go tomorrow.  For more go to @DrJerryCropDoc on Facebook.  It's public, so no sign-up required.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

From NCRS Interns to Ag Professionals

So at the NCRS we have been fortunate to have had some great interns over the years who provided valuable assistance to the research operations.  (And we still do today.)  But who could forget 2011 when we had these two outstanding Spartans working on the farm. That's Amanda and Jeff on June 27, 2011 in between tasks.
 And here they are almost exactly seven years later at the same NCRS, again in between tasks.  Only  they are no longer interns, but Ag Professionals.  Amanda is now an agronomist with Mycogen Seed and of course, Jeff is a Research Specialist here at the NCRS.  And Jeff is still taller.
We have some Mycogen corn planted as part of the AgroExpo seed plots, and she and her district sales manager came by for a look the other day.  So of course I had to arrange for a trip down memory lane.  I am proud of them for their advancement into the professional world of food production, and am certain that some of what they learned as interns stayed with them.  I haven't seen Amanda in several years and am glad that she is doing well.  And of course I am also glad we were able to get Jeff back to the NCRS several years ago.  Now get back to work!

Friday, July 13, 2018

NCRS Wheat Harvest

So wheat harvest got going this week.  It has been hot and dry so the plots are ready.  You've seen this many times before where the scaled cart follows the combine from plot to plot.  
 The yields have been very good, over 100 bushel dryland.  But recall we had a wet spring that was of benefit to growth and development.  So after all the tests are harvested we will summarize the data and learn of our success.  (I'm always an optimist).
 But the hot and dry part that's good for wheat harvest is not so good for dryland corn on light ground.  This is our organic fertilizer corn test.  Always hope for rain when it's dry, but would like to have this one turn out as it's our most complete organic test ever.
But you can't control the weather, just complain about it.  So I'm doing that.  At least I haven't had to mow my yard for several weeks.  See, that's an optimistic view.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Kentucky Corn Looking Great with AgroLiquid

So last week, Senior Sales Manager Galynn, SAM Rob and I went down to Hopkinsville, KY to visit the Security Seed & Chemical Research Farm.  It is a large facility where fertilizer plots are established each year to test different program, both old and new.  Fertilizer Agronomist Lang French met us at the plots to show us around.  AgroLiquid has been a standard program there for quite a few years now.  But that is challenged each year.  They do have really good looking corn down there.
 The corn is in the silking stage now.  Here is a plot that received a preplant application of dry fertilizer (9-23-30).
 And right next to it is a plot that instead received a planter application of Pro-Germinator + Micro 500.  Notice that the silks are turning brown indicating that it is farther along in maturity.
Lang said that they often see tassel emergence at least seven days earlier with AgroLiquid compared to dry treatments.  One of the many features explaining the high performance of AgroLiquid.  Go to their upcoming field day if you are in the neighborhood.
And if you want to see a video discussion of these plots (and who doesn't?) go to @DrJerryCropDoc on Facebook.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fast-Growing Corn

So how fast does corn grow anyway?  I recently read an article in a Pioneer update that told about spraying a stalk with paint and then checking it the next day.  I shared this my friend Chris Cook who farms in SE Wyoming and thought it would be a good project for his young boys Brady and Matt.
And it was!  I got this pic right back from them showing the amount of growth overnight.  Pretty phenomenal.  Of course this corn had the advantage of using AgroLiquid.  But I'm pretty corn with other fertilizer would grow at least some in the same test.  Maybe.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Getting a Wheat Crop to Harvest Isn't Easy

So one more post from the Palouse in SE Washington.  We have a field trial with a grower and Eric and I walked it last Wednesday.  This is soft white winter wheat and it is looking good.
 The heads are filling grain now, and grain protein is being made now too.  Yield and protein determine payment to the grower.  Outside of weather, one thing that can affect yield is insects like aphids. 
 And here they are.  I believe these are Russian Wheat aphids.  (Someone will tell me if they are not.) I just happened to get this picture that is interesting.  I believe that larger brown one is what is referred to as a mummy, having been stung by a parasitic wasp that laid eggs inside.  The insect world isn't pretty.  These aphids are sucking leaf juices and can cause the leaf to turn yellow.  And this is the flag leaf, the energy leaf of the plant.
So there is a threshold.  It is an average of 20 aphids per plant at this stage.  This according to his crop scout.  So this field wasn't there.  (I read where other experts say as many as 50 is threshold before damage exceeds cost of control.)  But the grower was nervous about not spraying.  Then there is the cost of the product (Dimethoate) and a plane.  A good yield is on the line, but wheat prices aren't the best.  The field was pretty slick with aphid juice.  Too bad the wasps didn't do more.  Not sure what he ended up doing.  No one said farming is easy.  And if they did, they are wrong.

All About Nitrogen Fertlizer: We will learn!

So I have showed pictures of Dr. Zouheir and his various nutrient capture studies.  Of particular interest is the nitrogen experiments where he captured ammonia as it volatilized off the soil surface from different N treatments.  Well all of those were practice leading up to this big one.  After surface applications of different sources and "stabilizers", he will measure volatility, plus leaching, soil persistence and crop uptake.  We did this on Friday, and there are Zouheir and MSU MSU intern Jenna getting the passive capture devices all set.  
It was hot Friday, but nothing like this weekend's oppressive conditions.  But Zouheir will be out there to collect samples for a 24 hour measurement.

Also, I know you are questioning our planting corn at the end of June  Well we had hoped to start earlier but work and weather caused delays.  And he is the only one qualified for this type of work.  We will mainly focus on corn uptake of nitrogen as it grows.  We certainly won't be able to harvest this.  But these same treatments have been applied for yield over the years at the NCRS anyway.  I don't usually like to expound on tests before the outcome is determined.  But I'm confident!  And this is high tech such that there is no other work like this anywhere.